Emotional Support Animals and Dog Bites
It is still possible for people to get hurt if a support dog gets aggressive in public – emotional support animals don’t have the same level of training as service animals.
Americans are usually sensitive to the issues people with disabilities often face in their day to day lives. Many laws are already in place to ensure that they meet their needs and also to protect them from any form of discrimination. One specific area is in the service animal field. More and more people are utilizing dogs and other animals for a wide range of solutions to different issues from physical to mental health and more
The number of assistance animals in public places has been increasing every year and with this, the risk that an animal may hurt someone also increases, especially with the relatively new type of service animal, known as emotional support animals. These are different from service animals, which are trained specifically for a task to help a person with disabilities. The emotional support animal isn’t trained at all for any specific purpose. Their main role is to provide emotional comfort to their owners and because they are allowed in many public spaces without training, there is a higher chance that an emotional support animal will harm a person than a service animal.
The Law Regarding Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animal owners are not protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, unlike owners of service animals. This means that public places like stores, restaurants, etc. are not obliged legally to allow entrance for them. Even so, many businesses still permit these dogs and other emotional support animals to enter their premises so they can cater to their customers. This can definitely raise some issues with animals that didn’t have any training specifically for being out in public and able to handle crowded, loud and confusing places, like how service animals would have been trained. What happens when an animal under this category acts up and hurts another person in public?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, given you did not provoke it in some way, the owner will be responsible for your injuries – even if that dog is an emotional support animal. You can file a claim against the pet’s owner and you will most probably be compensated for the medical bills, missed salary, including compensation for the pain and suffering due to the animal attack. It doesn’t matter if it’s an emotional support dog for the owner, the owner is fully liable if it bites another person, especially in cases where the owner is aware that the animal has not been trained to handle public spaces or if the dog has a history of being aggressive. Contact a skilled dog bite attorney as soon as possible, if you’ve been bitten by a support animal. A lawyer can help you prepare and obtain whatever is needed for you to file a claim and be compensated for your injuries and suffering.
The rights of people with disabilities should always be supported, including getting emotional comfort from animals. However, they should be held responsible if they allow the support animal in public places without proper training for exposure to the usual stresses involved in this kind of environment.
Get professional help from a lawyer who already has experience in dog bite lawsuits if you’ve been injured under this situation.